A version of the Jules Rimet Trophy is among the museum's exhibits
The leader of Preston City Council is threatening legal action over a decision to move the National Football Museum's main base out of the city.
Councillor Ken Hudson said the museum's trustees had "stuck two fingers" up at the people of Lancashire by agreeing its move to Manchester.
Urbis will soon become home to the football memorabilia.
Manchester City Council leader Richard Leese said he was disappointed by Mr Hudson's threat of legal action.
Controversial plans to leave Preston North End's Deepdale stadium and move to Manchester were revealed in October and the decision was made on Wednesday, despite a bid from Lancashire councils and the university.
Paul Dermody, the museum's chairman, said a "public face" would be retained in Preston if funding can be secured.
He said he realised the "importance of the museum in Preston" and that funding for the museum to remain at both sites would be sought.
Mr Hudson, however, said the decision would mean that the whole of the site would eventually move to Urbis, once it was ready to take on the 34,000-item collection, which includes the ball from the 1966 World Cup final and the oldest FA Cup trophy.
"We will have to carry on funding a museum for the next two years, knowing that it is going to move to Manchester. We either have a museum or we don't have one.
"I feel that Paul Dermody has acted like Dick Turpin for the sheriff of Manchester.
"The museum belongs in Preston, we have the oldest running club in England. We are where football began."
Paul Dermody said: "I am somewhat appalled by Mr Hudson's accusations.
"We are doing what is best for the museum. Back in 2008 when we were told that funding was going to be pulled we had to fight to keep the museum going.
"Preston City Council did not help us, neither did Lancashire County Council. Fortunately the North West Development Agency realised how important our museum was and suggested the move to Manchester.
"The city council thought it was an excellent idea."
Museum bosses are now in talks with the Lancashire consortium which had made a bid to keep the museum as well as Preston City Council, Lancashire County Council and the University of Central Lancashire to get funding for the smaller site.
Backroom staff have been given assurances their jobs are safe.